Dear District Attorney Nicholas LaHood,
I would first like to congratulate you on being elected as the next Bexar County District Attorney. After watching your campaign closely, I believe that you truly possess a desire to change this city and that you will use your position to improve the lives of our citizens and keep our streets safe. Now that you have officially been sworn in, you will confront a variety of issues that will require your attention, and I trust that you will handle these issues to the best of your ability.
One such incident occurred last December when Christopher Carter, a University of the Incarnate Word campus police officer, shot Cameron Redus, an unarmed UIW student, five times (four shots fired to the back and one through the eye) outside of his apartment located off campus in Alamo Heights. He died at the scene and life at UIW changed forever.
Christmas break was fast approaching and UIW students awoke on the morning of Dec. 6 to the sobering news that Cameron would not be returning to campus for his Spring semester. A passionate and highly motivated individual, Cameron looked forward to completing his Bachelor’s degree and graduating in May 2014. He served as a member of the UIW Cheer team, was an integral part of the campus television station, and eagerly anticipated his seemingly bright future – a future which, due to the actions of Corporal Carter, would never come to fruition.
I served as UIW’s student body president for the past three years (2011-2014), and faced this issue head on during my last term. I formed the Student Safety Committee in the spring of 2014 to address this situation. I listened to member input and together we crafted a list of recommendations which we submitted to the UIW Police Department regarding the best way to bring peace to a fearful student body.
We believed that this would help quell some of the students’ concerns, and provide some measure of comfort knowing their worries were at least being taken seriously by this administration. However, despite the simplicity of our recommendations, we found ourselves facing a brick wall in the administration’s and the campus police department’s response. They refused to take our propositions seriously and instead forced us to jump through several hoops just to express our proposals. We eventually submitted these recommendations through the office of Student Life, with the hope that they might profoundly impact university policy.
Despite our hopes, this investigation has been delayed far longer than necessary and we are anxious to see this case go to court as soon as possible so we might find some closure. It’s been over a year since Cameron was killed and we still know so little about what actually ensued that night and what will happen in the future.
While I recognize that it takes time for any sizable amount of change to be implemented in an institution the size of UIW, I would like to ask for a serious inquiry into this case and an unbiased investigation of all the facts and evidence involved. It also remains important that all relevant facts and evidence be disclosed in a timely fashion so that a more well-rounded view of the incident might be formed and we can uncover more truths about the case.
In a July 2009 issue of Inside Magazine, you stated, “There is nothing more important to me than fighting to uphold justice and serving others.” I believe that you are a man of your word and that you will fight for what is right in this case and will do what is within your ability to truly serve justice. Once again, I would like to congratulate you on your victory and your willingness to further investigate this incident. Both myself and the student body at UIW look forward to witnessing your handling of this case.
Jonathan “Johnny” Guajardo, Former UIW Student Body President
*Featured/top image: Nicholas “Nico” LaHood addresses supporters on election night on Nov. 4, 2014. Photo by Scott Ball.